Constructing a compelling case study

Jan 29, 2023 | Building Industry, copywriting

How to write a customer success story for the construction industry

You’ll often hear me say that case studies are one of the most under-utilised tools in the construction industry’s toolbox. When written well, they have the potential to win you new clients by demonstrating why you’re a leading expert in your field. They are also great value – written once and able to be used in a variety of ways.

But I know not everyone is at a point in their business where they can afford to have case studies written for them. So I thought I would offer some tips to those of you writing your own case studies. You can write a simple Problem/Brief and Solution type case study. These are usually a couple of short paragraphs and you might use them in capability statements or on your website.

But if you want to write a longer, more compelling construction case study that will help you win new clients, then these are my tips.

1. Prepare

You need to do some groundwork before you begin writing. Firstly, you need to choose a good project for your case study. It might be one that required an innovative solution, or excellent collaboration between a number of parties. It might be one that shows off a particular expert skill you have, or a new product/method that you’re using to improve outcomes. Whichever project you choose, ensure that others will be on board. Your case study will be stronger if you have the input and opinions of others.

Think about who your target audience is for the case study. What message do you want to get across? These things will assist with formulating interview questions.

Prepare a list of questions that you wish to ask the people involved whether they be engineers, town planners, suppliers or the client themselves. Frame your questions so you get more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. You want people to elaborate and hopefully provide you with some amazing quotes.

2. Listen

This sounds easy but can take some getting used to. You have to resist the urge to contribute to the conversation after you’ve asked a question. Give the interviewee time to think about and articulate their answer. Sometimes a moment of silence (not too long) is helpful.

And while the person is responding to your question, really listen to what they’re saying. They might answer another question you had. So you don’t need to ask it. Or they might say something that leads you to ask a better question than the one you had planned.

If you sense what I refer to as a “gold nugget moment”, dig deeper. Have the person elaborate on what they mean. You might just score a gold star statement you can use as a testimonial.

3. Break it up

Even though you’re writing a longer case study that’s more than just a paragraph on the brief and a paragraph on the solution, it’s still important to break it up. Think about how you want to introduce the case study – perhaps by giving some background on the client or the project.

Use paragraphs and where appropriate insert sub-headings. It’s rare that people will sit there and read an entire case study word for word unless they’re really interested.

By using paragraphs and adding subheadings, you make scanning the case study easier. This means people can more easily find what they’re interested in and read that part.

4. Simple language

A compelling, complex or detailed case study can be written in simple language. In fact, it should be. Simple language written in shorter sentences will help get your message across quickly and more efficiently. And this means that the person reading it will be more likely to absorb the information, and even act on it. This is even more important if your case study will be available online, as online information can be harder to scan and absorb if too complex.

The Oxford Guide to Plain English by Martin Cutts expands on ways to make the written word more simple. The preamble to the book explores the author’s experience with professionals who prefer clear, brief and easy to follow information. But something interesting that he notes is that it is often difficult for people to spot and fix unclear language that they have written.

I have an advantage in this respect as I was a primary school teacher for two decades. Instinctively, I use plain English to explain things because I know that’s the easiest way to convey information. But anyone can do it. My advice here would be to write as you would speak. To take an example from the Oxford Guide mentioned above:

He was conveyed to his place of residence in an intoxicated condition

written in plain, clearer language would be

He was carried home drunk.

5. Tell a story

Remember that a case study is a customer success story. You’re telling a story about your project. Imagine speaking that story to someone. Tell your best friend or your family about this great project you just completed. Record yourself.

By speaking it out loud, you’ll get clarity about the order you need to tell the story in and the plain English you want to use while telling it.


Whether you’re a builder, engineer, architect, tech developer or someone else in the construction industry, I hope the above tips help you when writing a case study.

It does take some practise to weave in all of the above with the information from your interviewee. But the more you write, the easier it gets. If you don’t have time or couldn’t think of anything worse than writing a case study but still want to reap the benefits, get in touch and I can quickly write one for you. Or follow me on YouTube for more tips about case studies and marketing your construction business.


Get your Instagram on

After Kate’s earlier mentioned money talk, the conference closed with the effervescent Jade Warner from Small Business Growth Club talking all things Instagram. Jade’s presentation was a great reminder that transformation and story telling is still a social media honeypot. People love to see how other people, products, places and just about anything have changed. I particularly loved Jade’s advice about the more Instagram surfaces (feeds, stories, reels, lives, DMs) we appear on, the further our reach.

Let’s get physical

Kate Toon provided a conference experience unlike many others. Coffee cart, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, after conference finger food and drinks, beanbags and massages. But even with all of that, she realised her speakers were giving us a lot of information and that our brains had a lot to process. So in the afternoon she surprised us a with a special guest – Lizzie Williamson from Two Minute Moves. Lizzie told us her story and demonstrated that even for those of us who hate exercise (not mentioning any names), two minutes of movement a day can be a game changer for our mental health. She had us up moving and dancing to Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical and it definitely helped our mindset. We were refreshed and able to concentrate for the last of the afternoon sessions.

Gifts and prizes

Attendees were also spoiled with a whole range of gifts donated by businesses in DMC. I was lucky enough to win two gorgeous prizes – a mini hamper from Bundles of Luxe thanks to Natasha Sutton from First Impressions Media, and a linen table runner and soap from Sue McGary of French Affair.

I also went home with gifts from Nick’s Digital and event sponsor True Green. And if that wasn’t enough, Kate also gave us Masterminders a box of Digital Marketing Collective goodies.

Award winners

It’s amazing to think that Kate Toon also organised awards around this conference. They’re a lot of work and many generous people gave up their time to read and judge entries. Thank you to head judge Erin Huckle and everyone else who participated.

I was a finalist in the Service Based Business of the Year Award (how cool is that?) but I couldn’t be disappointed in missing out when I saw the calibre of the other finalists. Well done to all finalists. A big congratulations to Beck Confrancesco from Marketing Goodness for being runner up and Nerissa Bentley from The Melbourne Health Writer for winning. Woo hoo! So well deserved. Both these women have always been extremely generous, sharing their knowledge and helping me be better in business. So I was thrilled to see both these first time award entrants get rewarded for their hard work and success.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the E-commerce Business of the Year awards as well. Was thrilled to see Nikki Filia from BeBangles, whose beautiful bracelets I was wearing, awarded runner up. And congratulations to Sue McGary from French Affair for taking out the win. What gorgeous products.


Digital Marketing Collective

This blog post is merely a recap of two very value-packed days at the Digital Marketing Collective Conference 2023. The overwhelming feeling at the end was not only that we got so much useful and practical information to help our businesses grow, but that we had met so many amazing humans.

Kate Toon has an uncanny ability to gather together the best of people. The Digital Marketing Collective is made up of a diverse range of service based and e-commerce business owners. Imagine having a safe space to learn, grow, make mistakes and be supported. Come join us. Full disclosure – the link below is an affiliate link but I would never recommend a group that I wasn’t myself paying to be a part of.

Join Digital Marketing Collective

P.S. If you want to see more photos and videos from the Mastermind and Conference, head over to my Instagram highlights after you join DMC.

Welcome to The Copywriting Chonicles

I love the building industry as much as I love writing. You can learn more about me here.

If you have a question about anything building related that you would like me to blog about, please drop me a quick note.

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